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Saint Arnold Christmas Ale | Saint Arnold Brewing Company

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Saint Arnold Christmas AleSaint Arnold Christmas Ale

Brewed by:
Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Texas, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 11-12-2001

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Reviews: 222 | Ratings: 593
Photo of cheers2beers
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a chalice

Appearance: Dark copper tones is poured with meduim white head, and meduim laceing.

Aroma: The nostrils pick up scents of hops,spices such as nutmeg and slight cinnamon.A little piney and a touch of fresh malts.

Taste: The palate is of spices galore.The nutmeg and cinnamon come to mind,as well as pulpouri or some floral taste i can't place.One thing is for sure, this beer tastes like its season.

Mouthfeel: The feel is thin,slight bubbley in the finish.

Drinkability:I could have few of these due to its christmasy tastes and smells but then again its sort of cloying due to the high amount of spiced flavors and smells.


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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.22/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear reddish amber color with a ¼” tannish head at first pour. The head fell within a minute or so, and disappeared because there are very few bubbles rising. There is no lacing to speak of.

Aroma: Rich aroma with caramel and toasty malts. There is some noticeable hop presence. There is a hint of underlying spiciness.

Taste: Rich caramelly and malty aroma. There is a bit of hops to greet you in the beginning of the profile, and then the malt kicks in. The malty sweetness dominates the profile, but there is a floral presence that lingers a lot longer than most other beers. There is some light hopping to support the finish, but it ends balanced decidedly toward the malty sweetness. There is a mild warmth from the alcohol that fades in late in the finish. It could definitely use a bit more carbonation to lighten up the mouthfeel.

Opinion: This is a really nice beer, and I believe it to be one of Saint Arnolds finest...if it’s not their best one. I enjoy drinking this beer not only because it is a quality brew, but also Brock (the owner of Saint Arnold brewery) is a really great guy...and I enjoy supporting his efforts.

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Photo of beerdiablo
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Some might call Saint Arnold's the Dogfish Head of Texas.
I can see that with the marketing but minus the swagger and daring.

Ring in the season with a bang and this beer does just that
mainly with the alcohol punch. You get a warm feeling after about
half a pint.

Even better are the sweet/spice flavors that become more apparent
when the beer warms up. The only downside is the signature Saint Arnold's dirty malt finish but don't let that scare you off.

A fine addition to one’s Saint Nick beer stein.

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Photo of beerceller99
4.35/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle from 2004. Pours a orange/amber hue with a slight head. Malty, spicy sweet smell. Medium to full bodied with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Nice malty, spicy sweet and black pepper taste.
A very tasty, ultra smooth drinking brew.
Another great one from South Texas.

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Photo of filabrazilia
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear orange amber with a small tan head that leaves delightful patterns of lace on the glass. Carbonation streams to the top in aquariam like activity.

There is a strong roasted malt nose that is assertively sweet and very inviting to the olfactory sense. Not the most cmplex aroma from a winter beer but very nice indeed.

The flavor is equally malty but not too sweet. There seems to be the right balance of sweet and bitter in the taste. While I couldn't discern any spice, the bitter finish of the hops acted as the right accent to this tasty beer.

This is a mid bodied beer that becomes more complex and chewy as it warms. The carbonation is easy on the palate and the beer is very easy to drink.

I really enjoyed this beer and could easily recommend to my friends. This beer is a nice example of a Christmas beer that is not too complex or complicated. It is one nice drinking experience.

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Photo of poundboy
3.41/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another astoudingly average beer. Maybe I'm just getting jaded or maybe I just haven't been picking the right beers, but its been awhile since I've had a beer that really impressed me or was even memorable. Maybe I should break out the 750 of 2000 Cantillion Iris in my closet. The one will at least be a full palette assault if nothing else.

This beer is good, don't get me wrong. It has plenty of malt flavor, a pleasing tinge to the mouth, and some fruitiness, at least I noticed some. It is so red that at first I thought they must of added cherries or something. And the 7% ABV does it's job of warming ya right up. But I guess I was in the mood for something that packs a flavor wallop, which this one certainly doesn't. Yeah its tastey, but not the pleasant wake up call of say Celebration Ale.

Lots of people really like this beer. I appreciate it, I would love to find it on tap went I go out to eat. Just doubt I will ever find myself picking up a six pack. Thanks go to Kindestcut for the bottle.

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Photo of hobbes2112
2.83/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle

Pours deep red/copper with a very small Ivory head. Smell is not nearly as spicy or alcoholic as I expect in a Christmas beer, mostly just grainy/malty. Taste starts sweet and malty, but then turns quite astringent. Strong warming malt finish with a slight bitterness.

Like many of the other reviews, I enjoyed it a lot more when it had warmed up a bit.

Not bad, but really didn't give me what I wanted in a Christmas beer.

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Photo of mattcrill
4.35/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to HardTarget for opening my eyes to St. Arnolds Brewing Co.

Appearance: pours a brick red/amber with a lovely tan head. Leaves yummy lacings down the glass as the head slowly fades away.

Smell: Hints of spice, citrus (orange), and warm aromas cascade out of the glass and hit my nose at a good arm's length away

Taste: candied fruits, raisins, and spice dance on my tongue. The only thing that's missing is a little Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby on the stereo with a roaring fire. Could it be Christmas in July?

Mouthfeel: Light and warm with no hop bitterness at all.

A malty sweet aftertaste leaves me wanting more. A good beer and I can see why this would be classified as a "winter warmer". Thanks again to HardTarget for hooking me up with this nice brew.

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Photo of spazaru
4.3/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In my opinion, Saint Arnold's best. Too bad it's not available year round. Very smooth, but with just enough spice to make it interesting. Warms you up nice in cold weather, and really evokes the holidays from the label to the last drop. Excellent every year from an extremely underrated brewery.

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Photo of kbub6f
3.56/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a gorgeous, clear mahogany. The head is small, tan/cream. Sweetish front with some grains and a little milk gone bad. Sweet fruit and floral hops in the front; strawberry ice cream and chocolate in the middle; dark grains and more floral hops in the sourish finish. There's a bit of a strange, deep chocolate and fruit combination going on. I can't quite put my finger on the taste, but it's not really pleasant.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade. Pours a pretty reddish-brown with a medium beige head that lasted pretty well. Decent lacing. Sweetly spiced aroma with a hint of malt as well. Very smooth mouthfeel, with flavors of sherry, malt, and spice. Mild alcohol flavor in the finish. A great winter warmer!

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Photo of budgood1
3.26/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours out a deep copper/amber color. short lived head gives way to nothing. no head left and no lace. little carbonation. pleasant and somewhat complex malty and grainy aroma. no real perceptible hopping, just a hint of some floral aromas for show. medium body gives way to a somewhat odd flavor profile....layered maltiness; some caramel and a bit of odd sourish and (plastic?) flavor. hints of cocoa and other mild and mostly sweet choco flavors. finishes rather bland. this winter seasonal needs to kick it up a notch, as it has potential, but falls short in being memorable.
many thanks to Beer Angel for sending this up my way!!

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Photo of chilidog
3.3/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thisone came to me out of Texas,so im not up-to-speed on st.arnolds brews. This one poured a clear deep amber with a very short-lived head. I mean it dies to nothing with no lace to be had. Some reviews read it takes a look of ice tea and I agree. The aroma and taste are of toasted malt, husk & grain. It was slightly sweet with a hint of a caramel tone. For a holiday brew I expected a little more bells than thisone rang.

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Photo of beerluvr
3.46/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a quickly fading tan head, over clear golden liquid tinged with red. The nose..Hoo-Ha, did someone say phenols?? It's like Band-Aids were steeped in this bad boy! Taste is malty and phenolic followed by some sweetness and a pleasant, if subdued hopping. Finishes with a dash of dryness otherwise it's maltiness all the way, baby.

Thanks to Beer Angel for the opportunity!

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Photo of yen157
3.45/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Orangish-red brew and a tiny 1/4 inch of bright white foam was as big as the head got. Decent smelling beer with the focus on the malt with a big toastiness. Not too much hops in the nose.

Tasted similarly to how it smelled, toasty. The hops were there, but only to balance. The malt was simple and rather one-dimensional. Every now and then I did catch some caramel. The finish was short and husky.

The thing that kep me from enjoying this beer as much as I could have was the carbonation. It was very forced and seltzery. The carbonic acid flavor took away from the taste a bit.

This fact that this was a refreshing Christmas brew made the experience kinda fun. Unlike most other winter seasonals this wasn't a thick, black, hoppy assault. The beer was much more balanced than most, even approaching malty. This wasn't a bad thing, only different and unexpected. I guess they don't need the "winter warmer" types of beer in TX.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I always look forward to trying Christmas Ales, especially ones that carry the name St. Arnold, for it is a name that crops up in Belgium, many, many times. Does this hint at a Belgium style Christmas Ale, we shall see.
Comes in one of those short stubby 12 fl.oz brown bottles with a generic style label for the beer range, this one is dark green. Pours with little, or no, discernable carbonation, which results in a very minimal head - so much so I wondered if the integrity of the bottle had been breached. It hadn’t thankfully. The head is white but only forms a halo ring head around the edge of the interface between glass and fluid. Body of the beer is a crystal clear, very inviting deep amber-copper. Shame there is no head really. Nose is malty, but then what else would you expect from a beer that apparently utilizes five different malts! Introduction is of sweetness and malt. Things were going really well until the middle, for it has a very annoying, albeit short, taste that I have come across only in the UK to date. There is a short blast that takes over the middle of the beer, it reminds me of Germolene® Hand Cream and TCP®, and both are Antiseptics that contain Phenols. It could be the result of some strange spice or mix of spices, but it doesn’t work for me because it is too ‘hospitally’, clinical and antiseptic tasting. This does go away though, and the end has a nice caramel malt finish. I also noticed that as the beer warmed to room temperature the strength of the ‘annoying’ middle subsided and the beer became much more pleasant to drink.
I gleamed the following from the website, Christmas Ale is 7.0% ABV (5.6%ABW) with 35 IBU – not bad. It recommends serving the beer at 45ºF, I disagree, it improves beyond that for me right up to 50-55ºF, but that’s just my preference.
Not your usual Xmas Beer, but nevertheless, a nice enough beer that I will have to try again.

Thanks to Beer Angel, a welcome receipt as part of the Beer It Forward !

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Photo of aracauna
3.22/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Nice coppery brown with fleeting white head. Nice dry malt nose with prominent but not overpowering spice (sorry, but I'm bad at identifying spices) but it'ssomething in pumpkin pie (nutmeg?). The flavor is more of the same plus some brown sugar and it's fairly dry. After a few sips it the flavor fades and becomes a bit bland and suffers from lack of malt background. It's not bad but there's better winter beers out there.

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Photo of TXHops
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Saint Arnold uses a lot of Belgian aromatic malts. That, combined with their distinct yeast strain, I guess is what gives all their brews such a unique, grainy flavor that hovers somewhere between very fresh malt and dry dog kibble. Christmas is no different. Since Bock Wagner favors sweeter, maltier beers, Christmas is a malt lover's winter dream. None of that in-your-face hoppiness of Celebration, but lots of smooth, mellow malty sweetness. Personally, I dislike the intense graininess and I'm gonna ding Chrimtmas them for it in smell, taste and drinkability, but I honestly believe that it's that unique flavor characteristic that keeps legions of loyal Houstonians coming back for more.

The body is a clear deep amber, but like all Saint Arnold beers, the head is pathetic. Although a small, foamy white cloud was there in the beginning, after about 20 seconds, the glass looked like it had tea in it. The aroma is intense--a shocking nose-full of malt--it smells exactly like shoving your face into a bag of vienna malt. Never tried it? Have a Saint Arnold... Husk and all--I've never had a beer that smelled EXACTLY like grain. Some smelled like malt with a hoppy overtone and some smelled like bread, or cookies or biscuits, but none have ever smelled EXACTLY like grain. This beer literally smells like a brewery.

The more-than-average viscosity leaves a sweet, sugary coating on my mouth that the hops attack, but with great restraint. The IBU's are there purely to prevent the beer from becoming cloying--not to impart hoppiness.

Like the rest of the SA brews, Christmas is a showcase for the grain bill. The hops perform their duty, but will win no award for their leading performance. I personally like SA Christmas and I respect Brock’s vision of a Christmas ale without 60+ IBU’s, but I have a hard time with the dog food aspects…

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Photo of Morris729
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium copper color with a thin white head. Aroma is sweet malts and grains with a touch of fruit. Nice taste with flavors of toasted grains and spice and a slightly bitter hop finish. A nice winter beer.

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Photo of BeerAngel
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazed semi-dark caramel with a very small off-white head. The head disappeared into nothing very quickly. The smell is a lightly sweetened bread and fruity smell with a hint of spices. Taste of toast and roasted malts and spices...perhaps just a hint of cinammon on the tail. Very tasty! This is a fairly light to medium bodied brew and finishes with alcohol and spiced notes. A good offering from Saint Arnold. Cheers!

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Photo of Pegasus
4.24/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep and clear copper-red color with a head that fades away in mere seconds, faint carbonation, a little lace. Toasty malt aroma and mild alcohol notes with a slight spiciness. Taste begins with toasted malts, bitter chocolate and coffee notes, followed by sweet berry-like fruit flavors, finishes with mildly bitter, understated hops. At 7.0% ABV, it packs quite a punch. A unwaveringly superb winter beer, not to be missed.

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Photo of BKotch
3.06/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice dark-amber color and clarity. Not much of a head. Am I the only one that has a problem with St. Arnold's house yeast strain? I detect it in almost all of their beers --it imparts a kinda funky nose and taste to this otherwise fruity-malty brew, which could also use some hops to balance the flavors better.

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Saint Arnold Christmas Ale from Saint Arnold Brewing Company
3.71 out of 5 based on 593 ratings.
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